Law to limit lobbying groups' spending 'dictatorial' says East Lancs MP

A LAW which would limit lobbying groups’ spending in the run-up to an election has been described as ‘like that of an African dictatorship’ by an East Lancashire MP.

Human rights campaigners raised concerns with Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones about The Lobbying Bill.

The law would limit the amount campaigning groups can spend in the 12 months before a general election, and all spending related to the election would have to be declared.

The Government claims the law – proposed after allegations over the influence of lobbyists on government decisions – aims to bring third party campaign groups in line with political groups.

But campaigners have been outraged at the plans, which would cap spending in the run-up to and during elections, at £390,000.

The bill has been put on hold by the House of Lords while amendments are made by ministers.

Joan West, of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, organised the meeting with Mr Jones, alongside members of online campaign group 38 Degrees.

She said: “This legislation would curtail the rights of ordinary people to campaign on causes dear to their hearts.

“It will infringe human rights and be a step towards radically changing Britain as we know it.

“Graham Jones agreed to support the views of the delegation.”

Mr Jones said: “This legislation is horrific. It is something you would expect from an African dictator.

“This has led to the largest correspondence I have received in my time in office.”

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